Thursday, November 06, 2008

Narikuravars: Chapter 6


So that is the story of the Narikuravas as far as I have witnessed. But to not inform you of the most recent and exciting development in Chennai and around other parts of Tamil Nadu would be unprofessional, to say the least.

Besides, it suggests a blossoming collectivization necessary for the social empowerment of this group.

They finally did it. Just last week, the Narikuravas launched a protest and demanded two acres of land to be given to every gypsy family. They also demanded for ST status.

I would like to conclude this project with a poem by Tchalai from his ‘Preface to TZIGANE TAROT ‘ (Tarot of the Roms). It beautifully captures the inherent global spirit of the gypsies, and thus the Narikuravas.

My Brothers
They had eyes dark as night, my brothers,
As if cut in black diamond

They had moon-woven hair, my brothers,
Glistening blue in endless mist

And teeth like wolves' teeth, my brothers,
Joyous teeth clenched tight on their hungers

The voice they had, borne it was from the stars,
Fascinating and misunderstood

the hands they had, fearsome hands, my brothers,
And the world was drunk at their fingertips

Gone are they on all the paths, my brothers,
They were warm like fire, and fresh like the wind

Let me touch your hair your brow your lips,
Scrutinize the palms of your hands

I'm only searching for my brothers everywhere around,
To live is to know how to love

Gone they are on all the paths, my brothers,
But in every mirror, I find them again!


To all the Narikuravas, who hounded me to buy their beads, hounded me even more to click their pictures and opened their hearts and communicated their hardships to a complete stranger – THANK YOU.

Special thanks to William, a fisherman from Mamallapuram, for accompanying me and acting as my translator.

To Raj Kumar, one of the few honest priests that I have met.

To Manikandan, for his constant support and suggestions.

To Mahalakshmi Jayaram, for arranging my haphazard barrage of information into neat compartments. I still have a lot to learn from you Ma’am.

Lastly, and most specially, to my compatriots – group D1 DA! Thank you for introducing me to these wonderful people and for all your help and guidance while we explored this issue together, five months ago.

The end is the beginning is the end is the beginning…